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Gotti is going to get better, but it will take a while before he will be up and running.

The pit bull was injured over the weekend when he was chained to his owner’s SUV and then dragged several blocks on West Side streets before police stopped the vehicle.

A tearful Daniel Delaney told investigating police officers he forgot he had leashed his dog to the back of his vehicle outside a store where he had gone to make a few purchases and then drove away, authorities said.

Delaney’s absent-mindedness cost Gotti the pads on his paws, and he suffered leg injuries and road rash to his coat.

Police and SPCA officials say they are not convinced by Delaney’s excuse of forgetfulness.

“We’re told he was highly remorseful, but as the owner, it was his responsibility to remember his dog. It doesn’t help the dog that he forgot,” said Barbara Carr, executive director of the SPCA Serving Erie County. “The dog’s paws were pretty badly damaged. It’s going to take a long time for the pads on the paws to grow back; weeks, if not months.”

Despite what had to be a terrifying experience, Gotti is proving resilient.

Covered with special bandages that promote regeneration of the paws, Gotti can lift himself up on his legs and sustain his weight – a step in the right direction, according to Carr.

“On Monday for several hours, we had a veterinarian and two veterinarian technicians working on the dog, and it appeared he would not need surgery, though one foot is particularly swollen,” Carr said. “We also had our chief animal cruelty investigator taking photographs of the injuries.”

And while Delaney, 36, of Buffalo, appeared remorseful, crying in front of police officers, it is unknown whether he will be able to keep the dog. That will be up to a judge, police say.

Shortly after 11 a.m. Saturday, as Delaney drove away from a store in the Hampshire Street neighborhood, another person spotted the dog attached by a chain to a cable loop at the rear of the SUV.

“K-9 Officer Bud Rodriguez happened to be on patrol in the area and was flagged down by the witness. Rodriguez then pulled the SUV over on the first block of Arkansas Street and called in district officers,” Central District Police Chief Brian K. Patterson said.

Officers Patrick Murtha and William Drabik assisted Rodriguez, arresting Delaney on a charge of aggravated animal cruelty. Delaney remains incarcerated in the Erie County Holding Center in lieu of $25,000 bail and is scheduled to return Thursday to Buffalo City Court.

Gotti will remain at the SPCA facility on Ensminger Road in the Town of Tonawanda for the duration of his recuperation. Carr said the SPCA is seeking a bond to help ensure payment by Delaney for medical expenses.

“It has already cost hundreds of dollars, and it will probably be thousands,” Carr said. “If he does not post the bond for the dog, he will quickly lose custody.”

email: lmichel@buffnews.com